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John Carpenter Zoom Crashes a Special Screening of The Thing in the Middle of the Antarctic

It may be cold, but it's still the ideal climate for a screening of The Thing.

By Josh Weiss
John Carpenter's The Thing GETTY

Nothing prepares you for six months of snowy isolation quite like John Carpenter's The Thing. To celebrate the onset of winter in Antarctica this month, the residents of the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station screened John Carpenter's beloved 1982 horror film, which centers around a group of Antarctic researchers stalked by a shape-shifting alien that had once lain dormant under the ice for millennia.

John Carpenter Makes Surprise Appearance at Antarctic Screening of 1982's The Thing

It's an annual rite of passage among the crew, but this time around, they were joined by a very special guest: the horror master himself! While the 76-year-old filmmaker/composer couldn't make it in person for obvious reasons, he was kind enough to cameo over Zoom, as fan Steven K Schalau revealed to The Nerds District Facebook group last weekend.

"We are cut off from the rest of the world until November," wrote Schalau, who works as a contracting sous chef at the remote government research outpost. "As a tradition, the following day off (the station doesn't work on Sundays, otherwise six day work weeks) we watch The Thing. Well, this year our 'Thing Marathon' was started off with [a] Zoom call with none other than John Carpenter himself!"

A Facebook post featuring John Carpenter and The Thing (1982).

For More on The Thing:
Return of The Thing? Everything to Know About The Cancelled Miniseries Sequel to The Thing
Kurt Russell Admits He Wasn't a Big Fan of MacReady's Iconic Sombrero in The Thing
Kurt Russell and John Carpenter Discussed the Ending of The Thing "For a Long, Long Time"

We can't prove it, of course, but we like to imagine that everyone got a bucket of popcorn, a commemorative R.J. MacReady sombrero, and their very own bottle of J&B Blended Scotch Whisky. How else are they going to stay warm all winter long?

Half remake of 1951's The Thing from Another World and half adaptation of J.W. Campbell's Who Goes There?, Carpenter's take on The Thing was a critical and box office misfire upon its initial release in June 1982, having been totally outshined by another visitor from outer space named E.T. In the decades since, however, The Thing has been reappraised by audiences and critics as a masterpiece of suspense, terror, and practical effects. Much ado is made about the film's ending, with fans endlessly debating the ambitious fate of the final two survivors: MacReady (Kurt Russell) and Childs (Keith David). It truly is one of the greatest films ever made, regardless of genre.

Originally constructed in the late 1950s, the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station is occupied by around 50 scientists and support staff throughout winter and up to 150 people during the summer months. The gathered personnel conduct research across several areas of study, including meteorology, astronomy, astrophysics, glaciology, geophysics, seismology, ocean and climate systems, and biology. According to the official government website, "It has collected the longest continuous set of meteorological data from Antarctica's vast interior ice plateau, and it is well located for studies of the cusp region of the magnetosphere."

John Carpenter's The Thing — along with its 2011 prequel — is available to own from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.